Sleep and your career

Writing and The Written Word

Sleep Management

In this age of technology and advancement, we belong to a hyper-connected culture but there is one thing we cannot get enough of and that is sleep. Thanks to the long working hours and the electronic devices our brain fails to power down and that disturbs our natural sleep-wake cycle.

Most of the individuals stay up all night and they cannot get the required 7 to 8 hours of sleep. 50 to 70 million people are suffering from a sleep disorder and sleep deprivation has turned into an epidemic. Lack of sleep not only affects our health and relationship but also our career.

Sleep and Ceridian rhythms

Sleep is an important part of life and it is important to keep our energy levels high and to help us feel better. Just like hunger makes us eat, tiredness makes us want to get…

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How to Start Garden Vegetable Seeds Indoors for Transplanting

Ask any gardener what his favorite gardening job is, and the chances are he will say propagating from seed. There is something magical about sowing your seed and then peering into the container, looking for the first signs of life popping through the soil that you prepared. In just a few days, you can be watching the tiny green leaves make their appearance. It feels like you have created life itself.

Why Grow from Seed?

Why grow from seed,  is a fair question, given that many nurseries will now sell you ready to plant seedlings. You can save time, and you can eliminate the risk of your seeds not taking or succumbing to some fatal disease during that vulnerable early stage in life.

Well, there are many good reasons to grow those seedlings yourself. First, a packet of seeds is always cheaper, sometimes way cheaper than a tray of seedlings. Secondly, you will often end up with far more seedlings if you grow them yourself. This may seem a waste but as every gardener knows, sharing seedlings with other gardeners is a good investment. It inevitably leads to them giving you some of their excesses, and pretty soon, you have a much wider array of varieties and different plants. Some of the excess plants can be held back and planted later so that you have a succession of ripening dates and, therefore, a longer crop availability time.

The third reason is that growing from seed is just so much fun. During those cold winter months, you can sit down indoors with a cup of coffee and page through those seed catalogs to decide what you will be experimenting with the following spring. In the gardening world, this is known as seed porn. You also get to use seed that you harvested yourself, and there is something special about having controlled a process from start to finish.

A Little about Seeds

Although each plant produces seed with different characteristics, there are certain characteristics that are common to most seed.

  • Testa: This normally hard outer layer is mainly to protect the inside of the seed.
  • Hilum: The small mark or scar where the seed was attached to the parent plant.
  • Micropyle: You may just be able to make out a tiny hole near the Hilum, which is there to allow water to penetrate the seed after sowing.
  • Cotyledon: Inside the seed is a food reserve composed of starch and which will provide enough food to help the seed germinate and make it through the soil to the light.
  • Radicule: This is the embryonic root that is normally the first thing to emerge from the seed.
  • Plumule: The embryonic shoot that will start pushing outwards and upwards as the seed begins to grow.

Common Germination Requirements

Germinating seed requires three things: water, warmth, and light. The trick lies in knowing which quantities of each to supply. Don’t worry. There are common rules that we will look at a little later. Once the moisture penetrates the seed, it dissolves enzymes that trigger the growing process and supply the first food. The Taproot normally emerges first and pushes downwards, and soon after that, the first shoot will begin pushing upward in search of light.

A gardener must provide the correct growing medium in which all of this can happen and the ideal temperature. One of the main reasons for planting your seeds in trays indoors is that the extra warmth will encourage the seeds to germinate earlier than they would if they were outdoors and thus to extend the growing season.

The Growing Medium

The growing medium is the mixture into which the seeds will initially be sown and where they will quickly germinate. One might think that seeds could just be planted into ordinary potting soil or even garden soil, but seeds can be fragile. The nutrients and acids that exist in these products could damage the seeds and cause rotting, so they are planted into seed compost instead. This is a fine growing medium that is chemically neutral and has been sterilized. Although it contains no nutrients, remember that your seed already contains those starch reserves by way of the cotyledon, and these are ideally suited to getting those seeds off to a good start. Only once the first true leaves appear will you have to start thinking about feeding your plants.

You can place your seed compost into trays, pots, or even ice cream cartons. Just make sure that there are plenty of holes in the bottom to allow drainage. Fill the tray or chosen container and then gently press down to firm the medium but do not compact it. Make sure there are no big gaps in the soil but that there is still some air. You should water before planting as this will stop the pressure of the falling water from moving or uncovering the seed. Prepared soil should be damp but not wet.

Sowing Options

Now that your trays or containers are prepared, it is time to sow the seed. Your options vary mainly due to the size of the seed itself. For larger seed, you can make drills. This is a fancy term for rows, and you can make these using the back of a pencil or the side of a small trowel and drawing it through the soil.

The accepted rule is to plant your seed at twice the depth of its diameter. With large seed, this is easy because you can pick them up with your fingers and place them in the drill as you want them. Most seed packets give you a standard depth at which they recommend you plant, and it is almost inevitable you will have more seed than you require actual plants. It is better to plant too much than too little. That way, you can thin out weak or spindly plants or give away extra seedlings. Many seeds deteriorate over time, so rather plant too many and share than have too few plants.

Once the seed is in the drills, cover with soil and firm down lightly. You can now cover your seed tray with clear plastic or a sheet of glass and place it on a sunny windowsill. Within a few days, the first signs of life will start to appear. You can purchase an electric propagator that warms the trays from underneath, and this speeds the germination process. If you are keeping the seed trays in a heated house, then it probably won’t be necessary, but it is handy if you are leaving them in a cold potting shed.

Smaller Seed

Some seeds are tiny, and you won’t be able to pick them up individually. These you can sprinkle across the surface of the growing medium by rubbing between thumb and forefinger. Really tiny seed should first be mixed with some fine sand to make the spreading process easier and to keep spread as evenly as possible. After that, place some of the growing medium in a sieve and gently shake it over the seed until it is lightly covered. Remember that seed is better off being planted too shallow rather than too deep because they contain a limited amount of food, and you don’t want your seedlings to use all of their available energy just getting to the surface of the soil.

An important note here is that you should label the seed trays with whatever it is you have planted. Some seedlings might look different from others, but when you are growing different cultivars of the same plant, it can be all too easy to forget what you planted where.

Thinning Seedlings

Your seeds will start to sprout their first two leaves after they appear through the soil. The timing for this will vary depending on the conditions and mainly on the crop. These first two leaves are not true leaves but are what we call cotyledon or seed leaves. These are actually part of the original seed and provide the first food for the young plant. Now, you can remove the plastic or glass covering. You need air to circulate freely now, and excess humidity can lead to a disease known as damping off, which we will look at later.

If you have just sprinkled the seeds, then things will start to get too crowded and you may need to do some thinning. As they grow, the next leaves to appear will be the first true leaves. You can now gently removing excess plants by tugging them out by pulling one of those two true leaves. Keep the healthier plants and thin those that are weaker. Don’t be tempted to pull on the stem but stick to pulling the leaves. The stems are very fragile at this point, and if damaged, the plant will die. The excess seedlings can be planted into containers as reserves for unforeseen casualties later in the season, or as giveaways. You don’t want to leave the thinning process too late. Otherwise, the roots will get established, and they will interfere with the plants you want to keep as you tug them out.

Your seedlings should end up evenly spaced and looking healthy. They can continue to grow indoors until they are bigger. It is important to make sure that the soil remains damp but not too wet. If you suspect that things are starting to get dry, then water by standing the tray in a sink of water and allowing it to absorb from the base, always allow the tray to drain well after doing this.

With the appearance of the first two proper leaves, the plant will start to photosynthesize, and light becomes more important. If they are on a bright windowsill, then that will be sufficient, but if they are somewhere else indoors, they will need artificial light either from a grow lamp or a neon light source. Aim to provide twelve to sixteen hours of light per day.

Potting Up

Smaller plants will be happy to remain in the seed tray they were planted in until you are able to plant them outdoors. Larger plants will need to be put into individual pots so that they have room and depth to continue their rapid growth. Potting up is performed when the seedling has developed several leaves and is starting to look a little bushier. The plants can be potted up into pots individually or in twos and threes.

Fill the pot with potting soil and plant the seedlings into their new temporary home at the same level as the top of the soil at the base of the plant from the seedling tray. If more than one plant goes into a pot, then keep them far enough apart that their roots don’t become entangled as they continue to grow. The potting soil will contain nutrients because the plants will no longer have any reserves from the seed, and the first soil was nutrient-free. Those that remain in their initial trays will need to be fed with a lite general-purpose fertilizer.

Hardening Off

Once you decide that your seedlings are sturdy and large enough to be planted out into their beds, there is one more crucial step that you must take. Your seedlings have been getting mommy coddled in their nice warm environment. If you transfer them outdoors without giving them time to adapt, there is a strong possibility that the sudden change in the environment will kill or damage them. You can avoid this by placing the trays outdoors during the day and then bringing them back in at night for three or four days. This process, called hardening off, makes the adaption process more tolerable. When outside, place the trays in a semi-shaded position so that they are spared the shock of sudden exposure to bright outdoor light.

Planting Out

After several days of hardening off, your plants are finally ready to be planted into the bed, which should be their final home. Before planting the bed and or the pots should be watered. Congratulations, you have just successfully propagated your first vegetables.

Possible Problems

Nature is incredibly robust, and seeds are no exception. There is one problem that may face you, and that is a disease called damping off. This is a collective name for several different fungal diseases that can affect small seedlings. It often happens overnight. One day the plants are looking fine and healthy, and the next day they are dead. Because this is not caused by one particular problem, it is difficult to isolate it or to cure it. Sometimes the initial problem starts in the root and in other instances in the stem. If you look at the plants and see that some of them have gone over, immediately remove any dead material to try to prevent contamination of the remaining plants.

The best way to avoid damping-off is through good hygiene.

  • Use a sterilized planting mix with no nutrients. You can steam your soil by placing it in a covered container in a microwave for around seven or eight minutes. In small quantities, this is doable, but it is too much effort for anything more than that.
  • Clean trays and pots well so that no disease can be introduced. Bleach is a good disinfectant if reusing old pots and planters.
  • Make sure that air can circulate. Fungal diseases thrive in conditions of damp humidity.
  • Water from the bottom up and always allow excess water to drain away. Don’t leave the trays standing in water for too long.
  • Don’t overwater. One of the most common ways of killing plants is by giving them too much water.
  • If you spot dead plants, then act quickly to get rid of the dead material.

The only good news about damping off is that it only attacks small and vulnerable seedlings. If you can get them through that fragile stage, then you won’t have any more problems with this one. Obviously, the quicker you can get them past the vulnerable stage, the better. You do this by ensuring they have ideal growing conditions and as much light and air circulation as possible.

There are chemical fungicides on the market, but I would suggest that you avoid these. The disease strikes so fast that by the time you apply them, the plants are likely to have either recovered or died. They are expensive, and most importantly, they diminish any organic advantage you were hoping to gain by growing your plants.

Some people apply biological treatments such as sprinkling with cinnamon, but in most situations, it should be early enough in the season to replant and start the process again. 

So there you have it. Starting your seeds indoors is an exciting adventure for all gardeners.  There’s nothing more rewarding than watching the entire process of going from soil to seeds to plants.

Growing Oregano: A Home Gardener’s Guide

Writing and The Written Word

Whose is this book for?

Growing Oregano: A Home Gardener’s Guide is intended as a home gardener’s and homemaker’s handbook for growing the Oregano herb indoor and or outdoors.

What This Book Covers?

Growing Oregano: A Home Gardener’s Guide, covers everything from which cultivar to choose, to how to get the most from your herb garden, how to harvest and store your oregano, and teaches you everything you know to turn extra space in your vegetable garden, backyard, on your patio or kitchen counter into an herb garden adding a bit more flavor and character to the rest of your life.

Growing Oregano: A Home Gardener’s Guide On Amazon

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The Perfect Time And Best Methods To Fertilize

Introduction.

Gardening has got several benefits that make it one of the best and indeed a popular hobby. It’s not only a great stress reliever and good for your heart, but it also gives you a sense of achievement.

If you love gardening, you’d agree that one of the biggest sources of confusion relates to fertilizers.

  • What’s, is the best time to fertilize?
  • How to apply fertilizers?

Most people make a mistake in either of these aspects, only to repent later. In this article, we discuss these key facets.

What are Fertilizers and Why Do We Need Them?

Fertilizers are nothing but the nutritional supplements for plants. Just like any other living being, plants also need certain nutrients to grow and survive. Generally, they obtain these from the soil; but if the soil doesn’t have an adequate quantity of these constituents, you need to substitute with the help of fertilizers.

Fertilizers can be of natural or synthetic origin and can have different percentages of chemicals; available in granular or liquid forms. The primary nutrients that constitute a fertilizer are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K); that’s why term NPK is a common terminology in fertilizers.

Which Fertilizers to Use?

To decide upon the type of fertilizer to use for your garden, you’ve to find out what nutrient is lacking in your soil. Which fertilizers to use can be accurately determined by observing the symptoms of deficiency in your plants. While a lack of nitrogen results in yellow leaves, phosphorus deficiency causes fewer flowers, and a shortage of potassium affects the stem strength.

Now that you know the basics of fertilizers let’s find out more about the right timing for applying and the application process of fertilizers.

The Right Time to Fertilize.

As you can now appreciate, it’s difficult to generalize the best time for fertilizer application. When best to fertilize depends on the kind of plants, levels of nutrients in the soil, and the type of fertilizers used.

Remember is that the fertilizer manufacturer knows best about the optimal application rates; therefore, you must follow the instructions given on the pack. Even if two fertilizers have a similar nutrient content, the application will depend upon their types. Fertilizer may be organic or synthetic, water-soluble liquid, granular, or time-released. More so, different plants will need varying quantities of fertilizers at different stages. Here are a few guidelines:

1.      Shrubs and Trees.

Applying fertilizer at the root level while planting shrubs and trees allows the plants to get a continuous supply of nutrition from the soil at their desired rates. Applying fertilizer at the root level while planting gives a constant and steady reserve of nutrients for the plants, from where they can draw their dose as required.

On the other hand, for trees and shrubs, you need to apply fertilizers on an annual basis. You can fix anytime for application, but the early spring season the best for fertilizing. Note that, if there are no signs of malnutrition shown by the plants, they may be getting their share of nutrients directly from the soil. In such cases, you need not use fertilizers.

2. Perennial Plants.

While planting new perennial plants, incorporate an all-purpose organic fertilizer at the bottom of the pit. Incorporate an all-purpose organic fertilizer will help your growing plants to get their nutrition from the soil; an all-purpose fertilizer will provide adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc. to them.

For established perennial plants, just like shrubs and trees, applying fertilizer once every year is generally sufficient. Applying fertilizer in the early spring for perennials like rhubarb, berries, asparagus, etc. is effective.

3. Flowing Plants.

While the spring bloomers like hyacinths and tulips, generally don’t need any fertilizers, specific soils may need fertilizer application depending upon deficiency symptoms. You may fertilize perennial bulbs like alliums and daffodils post-flowering.

The flowers that bloom during summer, such as lilies, dahlias, and gladiolas, need fertilization while planting. A mid-summer fertilization may be necessary for dahlias and other flowering plants that need higher quantities of nutrients.

4. Annual Plants.

Annual vegetables and flowers need more nutrition to grow; therefore, annual vegetables and will require repeated application of fertilizer. Apply an all-purpose granular fertilizer while planting such saplings; this provides them a regular supply of nutrients during growth stages. After that, use liquid fertilizer to supplement their supply every month during mid-summer; the frequency of application should be no more than twice a month.

Optimum Application.

Contrary to the common belief, the growth and health of plants aren’t always directly proportional to the quantity of fertilizer used. If malnourishment is bad, an overdose of fertilizers can be equally harmful to the plants. Just like other living creatures, overfeeding of plants with a particular nutrient leads to problems.

Although you need to ensure that your plants get their share of nutrition, you don’t want to provide too much. An excess amount of nitrogen reduces the production of fruits and flowers while increasing foliage. Overdose of phosphorus hinders the plants from absorbing adequate zinc and iron from the soil, thereby affecting their overall health. If there’s too much potassium, the plants won’t be able to absorb their share of calcium.

Apart from adversely affecting plant health, the excess fertilizers may also cause water pollution by percolating into the groundwater. This polluted water then feeds the waterways, which leads to damages to the entire ecosystem. It’s therefore, essential to apply fertilizer judiciously.

Best Methods to Apply Fertilizer.

Now that we know the correct timings of the application of different types of fertilizers for different varieties of plants, you’re ready for the next step. Let’s have a look at the best ways of fertilizing your plants. There are several methods of applying fertilizers to your plants; broadcasting, placement, pellet application, and drilling are some commonly utilized methods.

Discussing them all is beyond the purview of this article, and it’ll be done in subsequent articles. Two of the most favorite and effective fertilizer application methods are:-

1. Topdressing.

Topdressing a type of the broadcasting method and frequently used for fertilizers rich in nitrogen. As the name suggests, the fertilizer applied from the top on crops that densely planted. This method allows the plants to easily absorb the nutrients as the fertilizer is in the top layer of soil. However, it has a few disadvantages, like promoting weed growth and underutilization of fertilizer.

2. Side-Dressing.

Side-dressing is a placement method of fertilizer application. The fertilizer is applied out placed in between the plant rows or around each plant. The following side-dressing methods can accomplish it:

Row Placement.

Nitrogenous fertilizer placed between rows of crops such as cotton, sugarcane, maize, etc.

– Individual Placement.

 For apple, papaya, mango, and similar trees and the grapes, the fertilizer placed around the roots.

Comparison Between Top Dressing and Side Dressing.

While the topdressing method is faster and less costly than side-dressing, it needs rains to make it effective. In the absence of rains, the top-dressed fertilizer won’t be able to reach to the place roots and hence gets lost or decomposed.

On the other hand, although the side-dressing method is slower and costs more, the fertilizer is less likely to be lost. It’s much easier for the plants to absorb the nutrients when fertilizer is placed near the roots.

Soil Amendments.

Soil Amendments are nothing but natural organic items that are added to the soil to amend its characteristics. Soil amendments may be necessary to improve soil fertility or other physical properties. In this section, we shall discuss soil amendments for enhancing its ability to support the growth of plants.

As already seen, fertilizers add essential nutrients to the soil; so, what’s the difference between fertilizer and a soil amendment element? Whereas the former can be natural or synthetic, the latter is always organic. Chemical agents can provide the necessary nutrients to the plants, but the amendments hi a step further as they improve the soil’s drainage and texture. The following are the two most effective and useful soil amendments:

1. Compost.

Compost is an organic matter that’s formed through decomposition of organic waste materials such as leaves, fruit, and vegetables remains, etc. This process called composting, and it breaks down organic waste to produce this excellent element. Compost is not only a great fertilizer, a natural pesticide, but also a perfect conditioner for the soil.

An ideal compost will consist of the following three components in the right proportions:

– Greens.

Greens consist of vegetable and fruit waste as well as grass pieces. It provides nitrogen to your compost.

– Browns.

Dead branches, leaves, and twigs compose the brown portion. These add carbon to the compost.

– Water.

It not only allows perfect mixing of the browns and greens but also supports composting.

2. Alfalfa Pellets.

Normally used to feed animals, the alfalfa pellets have been found to have a high percentage (5%) of absorbable nitrogen. It also has some traces of triacontanol, which is known to be a natural growth promoter for plants. Its pelleted form makes it easy to apply. It acts as a slow-releasing fertilizer and hence provides nutrition for a long duration.

Conclusion.

Fertilization is an important activity to get good crops and a beautiful garden. For best results, use the right type of fertilizer at the correct time and apply it in the most efficient method. You must not only observe your plants closely to understand their requirements but also read the instructions given on the fertilizer pack. In case you’ve got any further queries, we’ll be happy to answer them. Happy Gardening!

Organic Gardening – Posthole Composting

Are you an avid gardener? Are you dedicated to producing quality produce or an enviable garden? Studies have shown that not only is composting an excellent way to help the environment to reduce the carbon surplus that the earth experiences, but on a local level, it is an easy and affordable way to enrich the soil in your garden or yard. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “food scraps and yard waste currently make up more than 28% of what we throw away.”[i] Of course, while not all of that material can be reused in a compost, imagine what a reduction in even a small percentage of that number could do for our planet and for the soil!

As interest in preserving the environment grows, more people have become interested in how they can do their part. One of the many ways is through composting, or more specifically, posthole composting, which is more than a simple solution for waste reduction.

While you may have heard of the process of collecting organic material and allowing the organic material to decompose, which is known as composting naturally, this much simpler form of recycling is less well-known. Posthole composting is the process of using common kitchen scraps to fertilize and enrich a small area of land or dirt and to encourage nature’s workers to convert organic material into usable soil. It is simple, cost-effective, and provides your garden with invaluable nutrients.

Advantages Of Posthole Composting

Although it may not be the right option for everyone, posthole composting has many amazing advantages:

Traditional composting requires the use of a compost bin or pile. When you think about composting, you may think of a yard with a large pile of leaves, a compost tumbler or bin, or even a 55-gallon barrel requiring constant turning, maintenance, and feeding. On the other hand, posthole composting can be as expansive or scaled-down as you want it to be. No bin or pile is required. All you need is a small bucket to store your organic kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and even coffee grounds.

Posthole composting does not require any special containers, location, or a large amount of space. You can compost wherever you expect to plant trees, shrubs, flowers, or vegetable plants. Even raised beds are a good place for posthole composting. All you need is a shovel and your kitchen scraps.

Composting requires the right environment: right temperature, an appropriate amount of moisture, the right organic material, and aeration. This last one may be a stretch for your mind, but a compost pile needs to be regularly disturbed and turned to speed up the decomposition process. When posthole composting, no maintenance or special conditions are required.

Earthworms, although seldom thought of, play a vital role in the world’s ecosystem. Earthworms add value to the composting process and help to speed up decomposition. Earthworms are attracted to the organic material in your compost hole and will flock to the soil in your garden. As they digest the organic material, they also leave behind feces, which provides additional fertilization. They also help to aerate and turn over the soil as they travel along. By digging your posthole 8 to 12 inches deep, you are placing the organic material right in the middle of the worms’ habitat. They will love you for it, and more importantly, the soil will receive the valuable nutrients produced through the process.

Does the cost of keeping your garden beautiful and lush keep you from doing it? Store-bought fertilizers can be expensive and, in some cases, harmful to the environment. Posthole composting is not only inexpensive but more importantly, it’s FREE. In theory, you are recycling waste from things that you already purchased and consumed.

Composting is also a great way to save on the cost of trash collection and space in landfills. By recycling household waste, you are reducing the amount of trash that will now be sent off to a landfill to rot amongst the old tires, cell phones, and water bottles.

Are you concerned about global warming? As the earth’s landfills reach capacity, overflowing into streams, rivers, and the ocean, more and more methane gases are released into the air at an alarming rate. By reducing the amount of organic material from the landfill by composting, you not only reduce the amount of space required in a landfill, as mentioned earlier, but it has the added benefit of reducing the volume of gases that seep into the atmosphere. Aside from the benefits to the soil in your yard, imagine how much you can reduce your carbon footprint by following this simple process.

Let’s be honest. You are very busy, and gardening can be time-consuming in and of itself. You may not have the time to be constantly turning, maintaining, and feeding your compost pile. It takes work! The beauty of the posthole compost is that all it takes is a few scraps from the kitchen and something to dig with. Nothing fancy required and no large time commitment. Just cover up your hole with soil, and you are finished! During the spring and summer, when the ground is not frozen, the entire process should require no more than 5 minutes yet provide substantial value to your garden or yard.

Water is, of course, a critical factor in how your garden or flower beds will grow. Compost helps the soil to retain water so that it can be used when external sources of water may not be available. The organic materials absorb the water and allow the plants to draw from it in between rainfall or watering.

Another advantage to posthole composting is that because of the relatively small amount of organic materials that you are using and assuming the right conditions, and your compost should decompose in a relatively short amount of time, from several weeks to just a few months. Within no time at all, the fruit of your efforts will be enriching the soil and providing valuable nutrients to your plants.

Sometimes referred to as the Dig and Drop Method, posthole composting is very simple. As the title suggests, ‘dig’ a hole wherever you want to place your garden, plants or trees, ‘drop’ in your organic material such as potato skins and eggshells, and top it with soil!

Lastly, vital nutrients are delivered directly to the roots of your plants. What better method of fertilizing your plants than from the source, from the ground up!

Words of Caution For Posthole Composting

While there are a vast number of advantages to posthole composting, I will also caution you about several things to avoid doing in the process.

  1. Be sure to dig your hole at least 8 inches deep but no more than 18 inches to prevent animals from catching the scent of the decomposing materials and dig it up. The deeper the hole, the more likely that the nutrients will simply seep into the groundwater, not providing your plants with any of their life-giving value. The best place for your scraps is in this area between 8 and 18 inches below ground level, where it will still receive water, yet the valuable nutrients will not be in jeopardy of being washed away.
  2. It is not recommended that meat or dairy products be included in your scrap bucket to be composted as the strong scent of rotting meat will draw rodents and dogs to your compost hole. Besides the fact, the odor will be highly unpleasant to you and your neighbors!
  3. Be sure to chop up kitchen scraps into small pieces to promote the decomposition process. Onions and potatoes, in particular, tend to sprout new shoots before they begin to decompose. Even the onion skins may be a bit tough on the process, so be sure that they are wet before putting them into your posthole.

We have briefly mentioned the types of things to add to your compost hole, but let’s look at it a little “deeper.” Meat and dairy products should not be included in your compost mix nor grease and bones. Not only would animals be attracted to your yard and potentially dig up your flower beds, but these materials require a much longer time to decompose.

Compostable Items To Posthole Compost

So, what exactly should you be putting into your kitchen scraps bucket? If you are like me, you have a small bucket the size of a children’s sand toy neatly stashed in your kitchen. As you go about your daily routine, cutting, chopping, consuming, you can toss the scraps into this bucket, allowing for easy, small quantity composting. In other words, one bucket, one posthole. You should chop or break up any large pieces to ensure that they break down quickly and easily. For example, crush eggshells to speed up the process.

What do I include?

  • Vegetable and fruit skins, rind and core
  • Leafy greens
  • Coffee grounds (toss the filter in there too!)
  • Corncobs/husks
  • Old bread
  • Peanut shells
  • Tea leaves
  • Eggshells
  • Cut flowers        

You may also want to include other household waste, such as:

  • Black and White newspaper (color or glossy newspapers will not break down the same way)
  • Pet and human hair
  • Cardboard cut into small pieces (remove any shiny material or plastic/tape as this is not biodegradable)
  • Ash (wood only)

How-to Posthole Compost

Posthole composting is an amazing, environmentally friendly way of enriching your garden and yard. To supplement the organic material, you can also add small amounts of organic fertilizer, such as alfalfa pellets, to speed up the decomposition process. When filling your posthole, be sure to casually toss in the organic material rather than compact it down. Space allows it to breathe and encourages microorganisms to congregate. Before covering the kitchen scraps with the soil that you removed, consider placing the grass or weeds that you removed when digging the hole on top, upside down, adding their nutrients and organisms to the composting process.

In my list of compostables above, you will see, pet and human hair. Although this is not necessarily a “kitchen scrap,” it does provide several added benefits in your posthole compost; hair helps to deter rodents from trying to gobble up the rotting delicacies that you have buried, and it slowly releases nitrogen, which is a crucial ingredient in turning your discarded food into nutrient-rich soil.

To the seasoned home gardener, posthole composting may seem inferior to traditional composting. However, the result is the same, an organic mixture that not only enriches and fertilizes the soil but also helps to save our planet, mother Earth, for future generations. Whether you plant right away on top of the organic material or you wait until it has decomposed, the composting process will certainly enrich the quality and beauty of your garden or produce.

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is the EPA’s promotion phrase to save money, energy, and natural resources. If every one of us were to attempt to follow this simple slogan, we could make a dramatic difference in the environment, the quality of our soil and those things which it produces and certainly, improve the quality of life for all of us. Composting is each person’s small contribution to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Posthole Composting A Summary

Posthole composting is not only inexpensive and ecologically sound, posthole composting may be the perfect option for gardeners but may have limited space, time, resources, and energy! There is no right or wrong in posthole composting, but rather it is simply part of nature’s recycling program. Posthole composting’s creates homemade fertilizer, which provides your garden with the nutrients needed to thrive and grow. You are just facilitating the decomposition process. Happy composting!

Effect Of Exercise On Memory As We Age

Exercise And Memory
Exercise And Memory

It has been proved through various researches that one should be physically active for a number of positive reasons like reducing the risk of certain major health problems like stroke, diabetes, and heart problem, etc. People of all age groups also do exercise to lower their blood pressure, lose weight, look healthy and prevent depression, etc. However, some of the aging people do exercises regularly to protect their thinking power and memory.

Research-Based Results

The researchers of the British Columbia University have found in a study that your sweat glands and heart start pumping when aerobic exercises are done regularly. It also increases the size of the area of the brain involved in verbal learning and memory, the hippocampus. But one cannot expect similar results with muscle toning and balancing as well as resistance training exercises.

According to researchers, every four seconds, you can find a new case of dementia throughout the world. As per their estimate, there can be over 115 million dementia patients all over the world by the year 2050.

The Brain and Exercise

Various studies have proven that exercise can help in improving your thinking skills and memory directly as well as indirectly.

The direct benefits of exercise are experienced by reducing inflammation, resistance to insulin and increasing the release of the factors that help in overall growth like chemicals found in the brain that can affect the growth of brain’s new blood vessels, the health of brain cells and survival of large number of new cells in the brain.

The indirect effect of exercise can be experienced in terms of reduction in anxiety and stress as well as improvement in sleep and mood. One can experience cognitive impairment if any problem is frequently experienced in these areas.

Various researchers believe that the volume of the parts of the brain that control memory and thinking is larger in the people doing exercises regularly than those who do not exercise. Researchers were more excited to find that the increase in the volume of certain parts of the brain can be linked to be engaged in an exercising program with a moderate level of intensity for 6-12 months.

How Exercise Can Improve Your Memory

A number of ways are developed by your brain to recall and process information fast to solve the problems familiar to you as well as implement the tasks by making minimum efforts form your brain as you grow old. But you cannot stimulate your brain to develop and grow more if you do not depend only on the ways you have developed so far to remember things. So it is important for you to do some exercises infrequently to keep your body and brain active.

You can improve your memory if you use it regularly; otherwise, you can lose it like your muscle power. Your brain can remember and process the information more efficiently if you regularly do some brain exercises. The best way to work out with your brain is to find new ways to use your brain by accepting challenges by going out of routine.

How Much Exercise Is Required To Improve Memory?

In a study, the participants were directed to walk briskly twice a week for one hour each time. So, the walk of 120 minutes in a week is an exercise of reasonable intensity. Normally it is advised to do physical activities of modest intensity for at least half an hour daily or weekly 150 minutes. If it is not possible for you then you can start exercising for a few minutes and goon increasing its time by 5-10 minutes per week unless you achieve the target of workout for 150 minutes per week.

Aging people can do aerobic exercises to improve their memory and thinking ability like swimming, walking, tennis, stair climbing, dancing or squash, etc. but their intensity should be reasonable. You can also focus on some household activities for this purpose like mopping the floor, gather leaves form the garden, or anything else which can sweat you lightly and pump your heart a bit faster.

If you cannot exercise regularly on your own, then either you can work out with your friends or join a class so that you can be accountable for whatever you do. In order to encourage you to achieve your target, you should keep a track record of your physical activities. You can also hire a trainer if your budget allows you to keep you on track.

Conclusion

You can easily improve your memory with your increasing age by doing exercises of moderate-intensity regularly. A schedule of the regular workout will work as medicine to improve your mental power.

Related References

Retaining And Improving your memory as you age

Age takes a toll on all of us. You get to a point where your memory simply isn’t what it used to be. Things that would previously come as second nature start slowly slipping away into the distant recesses of your mind, and it only gets progressively worse. While there is precious little you can do about aging, there is so much you can do to keep your memory fresh even as you age. It’s all about the simple things you do every day, and below is a look at some;

1. Make life a learning process

People become rusty because they simply stop learning. Remember that you haven’t been in school for decades, so forgetting the core concepts of life and living is okay. However, you can roll back the years by keeping an active reading schedule. Decide on what you want to read every week, whether you are exploring new information or rereading old books to remind yourself of specific facts.

You should try to learn new things regularly as it is not good for your brain if you go on doing what you used to do in routine. You must do some unusual and new activities in which you are not comfortable already. So, you should learn new things and develop new skills to make your brain stronger.

2. Have a schedule

Our lives slip into a casual stream of forgetfulness because we do not have a plan to live from day-to-day. If you establish a routine for each day and occupy each hour of your life with simple activities, your mind will stay sharp. You won’t forget where you kept your reading glasses or the last book you were reading if you have planners and organizers around the home. Calendars are one way of keeping track of things. Planning apps are also a great bet. When you have a schedule, you are forced to remember what you need to be doing at specific times, and your mind stays sharp and focused.

3. Use your 6 senses

Challenge your senses into interpreting everything around you. For example, when you hear a smell, try to remember what that smell is associated with and what it means. If you taste something, think about the things that taste like what is in your mouth and jog your mind into remembering everything you associate with that taste. Exercising your senses allow you to tap into a wealth of information, you never knew you could remember, and that keeps you sharp.

4. Adopt a healthy routine

A healthy routine and your clarity of mind. To stay sharp, fall into a routine. Do specific things at specific times in the day. If you start jogging at 8 in the morning every day, make it a habit and do it every day at the same time. Take a short nap each afternoon and get the right amount of sleep every night. Make your sleeping hours consistent from day-to-day.

5. Eat lots of brain food

Turmeric, salmon, cauliflower, chocolate, berries, and broccoli are just a few of the so-called brain foods. This class of foods is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, and these ingredients work to keep your mind fresh and clear.

6. Write it down

Writing is a great exercise of the mind. Keep a notebook and scribble nuggets of information from time to time. The act of writing actually helps imprint some ideas onto your brain, and that promotes memory and retention. Keep a notebook also has the added advantage that you can always go back to your notes and remind yourself of something you forgot.

7. Get out there and socialize

Experts believe that as we age, the stress and depression we go through becomes a cause for memory loss. As you age, you may find yourself becoming increasingly isolated, and this is how depression sets in. Ward this off by interacting with people in public places and meetings. Find opportunities to be together with the people you love and stay active in your community.

8. Do New Things

When you seek out new challenges, your brain will have to focus on these activities, which build more neurons and reactivate neurons where they overlap with existing knowledge. However, you will have to do new things regularly to keep your brain busy. So, when you try to learn new things and do mentally challenging things regularly, this will help in improving your memory.

Conclusion

Age-related memory loss is a huge problem among senior citizens. This is compounded by the fact that most of us really don’t take the initiative to stave the slide. The good news, however, is that with a few simple and creative changes in the way you live and function, things can turn around. Always remember to keep those you love around you, and invest in the pursuit of knowledge even as you age.